The Wicker Man – review

British folk horror at its best – and rereleased again to become a gilt-edged classic

Ben Wheatley's A Field In England awakened interest in "folk horror": here is the superb precedent. This new 40th-anniversary re-release of Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man written by Anthony Shaffer (which arrives five years after its last UK cinema re-release) appears to signal an official upgrade from cult status to gilt-edged classic. Once ignominiously chopped to form a B-feature below Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now – what a double-bill – it has been fully restored to the length originally conceived by Hardy, and this means an even richer and more potent presence for Christopher Lee as the sinister Lord Summerisle, ruling over a remote island where a young girl has gone missing.

Uptight Christian copper Edward Woodward investigates, and is unsettled by the pagan practices, and an erotic dance from Britt Ekland. (I remember having tea with Ekland in her elegant Chelsea mews house in the 90s; she told me pretty sharply how her bottom was in fact provided by a stunt "double".) Troubling, brilliant and unmissable.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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